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No impact of diamond mining on Buxwaha rock paintings


In recent months, there have been some conversations around the rock paintings in Buxwaha Protected Forest. However, it is pertinent to know that these rock paintings were first identified by a Professor (Dr. Chari) from Chatrasal Maharaja University Chhatarpur in 2007. His works were published in the Bundelkhand Journal in 2016. However, it seems that since then no further work has been initiated. 

It is important to know that the diamond block mining area is located far away. The distance between the mining location and the nearest site of painting is more than 10kms away. And therefore, this should not be a cause of concern and there will be no impact of the mining process such as drilling, blasting, and excavation on these rock paintings.

It needs to be highlighted that there has been significant improvement in technologies in excavation and mining to date. The advancement of technology will not create any seismic interference on the current morphology or any other impact. 

For example, Metro Railways in Delhi and Mumbai have been constructed below the ground in areas that are densely populated. Also, some mines have been operating in the near vicinity of even the UNESCO World Heritage Sites but due to technological advancements in excavation field such monuments are not impacted.  

As per the government records, the Buxwaha rock paintings are not protected monuments, ancient monuments, or archaeological sites. Even these sites are not graded, categorized, and classified as protected monuments or protected areas of national importance.

If these paintings need to be protected then the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1959 (AMASR, 1959), its applicable Rules and subsequently issued notification, gets applied that together govern the declaration of ancient monuments or archaeological sites. 

Buxwaha rock paintings do not form part of either the list of “Centrally Protected Monuments” as declared by the ASI for the Bhopal region or in the list of “Protected Monuments” as declared by the State of Madhya Pradesh.

Any ancient monument or archaeological site of national importance is classified as a “Protected Area”. An area of 100 meters in all directions from such a Protected Area is a “Prohibited Area” while an area 200m away from the boundary of the Prohibited Area is a “Regulated Area”. 

Any activities (construction, mining, etc.) can be carried out in prohibited (up to 100 meters from Protected Area) and regulated areas (up to 300 meters from Protected Area) with consent from the ASI. Thus as per prevailing regulations, any activity more than 300 meters do not require any permission for any developmental activity. 

Considering facts and examples, there may not be any impact of diamond mining on these rock paintings. In the event that they are declared as a protected site, then project proponent can take initiative to preserve it.

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